Where Is Toyota Highlander Built? Identifying the Origins

The question “Where is Toyota Highlander built?” has crossed the minds of numerous Toyota owners. The Highlander made its debut on the US market in 2001 and has garnered numerous praises for its handling, space and fuel efficiency.

Where Is Toyota Highlander Built

However, there seems to be some confusion over where it is made, with many people believing it is built in Japan and others thinking it is made in the US. If you are one of the curious ones, keep reading this guide to find out.

What Country Makes the Toyota Highlander?

The United States makes the Toyota Highlander at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing plant in Princeton, Indiana. Other Toyota SUVs made at the plant include the RAV4 and Sequoia. However, the first Highlander to make its debut on the US market was made at its factory in Japan. 

– Models and Where They Are Built

For those who are asking “Where is 2022 Toyota Highlander made?” the answer is that the vehicle is made in Princeton Indiana at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Plant. The Highlanders produced between 2002 and 2011 had issues with their airbags, thus the company had to recall and replace them. These are the Toyota Highlander years to avoid.

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Where is 2021 Toyota Highlander made? The 2021 and the 2023 Toyota Highlander are all produced at the Princeton Plant in Indiana by the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Plant.

Where is the Toyota Highlander Hybrid made? Just like all other models of the vehicle, the Hybrid is manufactured at the Indiana Plant which caters to the North American market. Other countries like Japan and China produce the Hybrid but export them to other countries aside from the US.

– An Overview of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Plant Indiana (TMMI)

The company is located on a 4000-acre land and produces over 400,000 Toyota vehicles every year, including the fourth generation Highlander. The facility has over 7,000 employees who assemble some of the popular Toyota cars like the Highlander Hybrids, Sequoia and Sienna. Toyota Motor Manufacturing also boasts several supplier companies that employ thousands of workers to deliver their goods and services. In all, the company claims it has invested over $5.8 billion in the town of Princeton and is the biggest employer in the region.

The facility was established in 1996 to produce pickup trucks that’ll compete with other brands in the North American market. In 2000, the company launched its first Tundra pickup, which came to replace the Toyota T100 pickup. A year later, TMMI added the Sequoia to cater to large families who want to fit their members and goods into one vehicle. Later in 2003, TMMI started producing the Sienna minivan and released it in 2004.

Before then, the Sienna was produced at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Plant Kentucky (TMMK), which was a Toyota engine complete assembly plant. The Toyota Highlander engine short block is produced in Kentucky as well. In 2009, TMMI produced its first line of Toyota Highlanders after production shifted from Japan.

– From Japan to the United States

As mentioned earlier, the first Toyota Highlanders were not built in the US and this is probably why many people are still confused about who makes these SUVs. Initially, the vehicle was produced in Japan and then marketed in the US through Toyota’s marketing companies.

From Japan to the United States

The second generation of Highlanders from 2004 to 2007 was produced in both China and Japan. The next generation was built in China and the US and the current generation, from 2014 onwards, is produced in all three countries.

Thus, the Toyota Manufacturing plants in the US produce Highlanders for the North American market while the Chinese and the Japanese took care of the rest of the world. Therefore, if you’re wondering whether a Highlander produced in Japan is better than that produced in the US, the answer is no.

The reason is that all Toyota manufacturing facilities across the globe follow the same procedures and all the technicians are trained the same way by the same people. Thus, if you take a Highlander from America and compare it to another one from China, the differences will be few.

– Contrasting Highlanders Made in Different Countries

The Highlander produced in the US comes with a rearview camera that helps drivers to spot people/items that they can’t see in their rearview or side mirrors. Highlanders produced in other countries do not have this feature which comes as an option. However, the versions produced in China come with different engine options while the others only have the standard engine option. The Japan versions have their audio system controls mounted on the steering wheel while the rest do not.

Every Highlander-producing country has its own models that are slightly different from each other. Also, the Toyota Highlander 2022 price differs depending on the country but this is due to economic differences rather than company policy. Refer to Toyota Highlander wiki to see more on the topic of pricing.

The Toyota Highlander Dimensions

The Highlander comes with a 106.9-inch wheelbase and a curb weight of 1,716 kg. Its length is between 184.3 and 184.6 inches and its height ranges from 66.1 to 68.9 with a 71.9-inch width.

It features a maximum towing capacity of 2,267 kilograms and an 8.0-inch ground clearance. When all the seats are in place, the cargo capacity of the vehicle is 16 cubic feet, however, the car can fit up to 84.3 cubic feet of cargo.

– Various Updates of the Toyota Highlander

When the vehicle was produced in 2001, the Japanese version featured a central control on the dashboard while the American model had none. Instead, those who preferred that feature had to have them installed at the factory or the car dealership. However, by 2002, the American model came with a center control integrated into the dashboard.

Various Updates of the Toyota Highlander

The following year, the car featured a 3.3L engine Toyota Highlander with a five-speed automatic transmission. There was also the option to add a third row of seats by creating a depression on the floor of the hatch. The Highlander Limited of that same year featured a DVD-based navigation system. In 2005, the North American version showcased an all-wheel drive while the Hybrid featured a part-time four-wheel drive, which allows drivers to turn on the four-wheel drive when they are on snow or ice.

What Are the Other Facilities Where Highlander Is Built?

The other facilities where Highlander is built and produced are Toyota Motor Kyushu in Japan and the GAC Toyota Motor Company Guangzhou in China. Both companies produce the same Toyota Highlanders, albeit with a few differences in specs which come as options.

– Toyota Motor Kyushu (TMK)

The company was established in 1991 in the Fukuoka prefecture of Japan in the town of Miyata. Later, the plant, which could produce about 200,000 vehicles a year, was completed in 1992 and called the Miyata plant. The plant is located on a two-kilometer by 850-meter land and boasts two assembly units. The two assembly units are responsible for producing about 2,000 cars per day and about 200,000 vehicles annually.

Toyota Motor Kyushu (TMK)

The first vehicle to be assembled at the plant was the Toyota Mark II seventh-generation mid-sized sedan in 1994. In 2000, Toyota Motor Kyushu produced its first Highlander on the platform of the Lexus RX. At first, the SUV was produced as a five-seater vehicle but two extra seats were added in 2004. The vehicle became a game-changer, combining its unibody construction with on-road comfort, efficient fuel economy and independent rear suspension. 

Soon, it also became a commercial success across the world and the United States. At the time of its introduction, the Highlander came in two models: the base and the Limited model. A few years later, the Sport model was added. 

– GAC Toyota Motor Company Guangzhou

The motor company was established in 2004 as a partnership between the Guangzhou Automobile Company (GAC) of China and the Toyota Motor Company of Japan. The first vehicle to come out of the facility, which was located in the Nansha district, was a Toyota Camry built on the platform of the Toyota Aurion in 2006.

Later, the company added Yaris to its production line and in 2009, it introduced its first Highlander. The company produces about 151,000 cars per year and boasts about 3,000 employees.

GAC Toyota launched its first electric vehicle named the Leahead in 2015 at the Guangzhou Autoshow. The vehicle is built on the platform of the Yaris and can reach up to 80 miles on a single charge running on a 22 kWh battery.


We’ve looked at the various companies that produce the Highlander and where they can be located. Here is a summary of all that we’ve read so far:

  • The Highlander meant for the North American market is produced in Princeton, Indiana by Toyota Motor Manufacturing.
  • The GAC Toyota Motor Company located in Guangzhou, China, and the Toyota Motor Kyushu in Japan are the other companies that produce the Highlander.
  • The differences between the Highlanders produced in all three countries are minimal as the individual companies strive to produce the same product across the board.
  • The Highlander was first produced in Japan and exported to the US until the US branch started producing its own in 2009.
  • Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana sits on a 4000-acre land and produces about 400,000 vehicles for the North American market.

It also produces other Toyota vehicles such as the Sequoia and the Tundra pickup. Many news outlets suggest that the new Toyota Grand Highlander will be produced at the Indiana Plant as well.

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